Thursday, September 29, 2011
CBS launched procedural Unforgettable on premiere Tuesday to a relatively impressive 14.09 million total viewers and a relatively "meh" 2.9 demo. Though it dominated timeslot competition Body of Proof and Parenthood even in the demo, it took a 19% drop from its NCIS: Los Angeles lead-in and matched last year's launch of ultimately failed The Defenders in the demo. Probably its best news was that it outperformed any episode of The Good Wife in the timeslot last year.
In week two, Unforgettable continued to exactly mimic The Defenders, dropping 14% to a 2.5 demo. A 14% drop in week two is not a bad start in a vacuum, but its hold of the NCIS: LA lead-in got much worse (now a 31% drop) and its lead on its timeslot competitors shrunk considerably (now just a 0.3 lead on Parenthood). And now the show's already basically in early-last-season Good Wife territory.
This is the only one of the four of these posts I'm doing today where there's any difficulty at all. There are a few interesting layers here. Matching The Defenders' first two weeks is not a good thing considering that show only lasted one season, and a 2.5 demo would put this show near the bottom of the particularly bottom-heavy CBS totem pole. The fact that it only matched the year-ago episode of The Good Wife in week two is another bad sign, as I insist that's a show largely kept around for non-ratings reasons. Doing better than The Good Wife should be a given for a show that's gonna have much less buzz and acclaim. The only thing really working in this show's favor so far is that it would appear there's potential for fellow CBS drama newbie Person of Interest to be a bigger failure; it premiered to just a 3.1 and had a much larger lead-in (which it will lose this week). You can argue The Defenders was done in partly by the more obvious successes of fellow new dramas Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods last season. However, if there's any network that can basically write off a year of drama development and still have a pretty solid schedule, it's CBS. I'm not sold CBS would necessarily keep around a show that's already one of its weakest links just to say they renewed a new drama. So I'm not totally confident, but I'll say no season two for Unforgettable. Wouldn't be surprised by some kind of extension this season, though.
"First Two Weeks" is my look at... the first two weeks of a new scripted broadcast show's ratings. I also line all of these numbers up to do an objective analysis in what I call "the system."